Captain George Duff

Born 1764
Died in command of H M S Mars 21st October 1805

 

The following biographical note first appeared, apparently, in the Naval Chronicle for 1806, being Volume XV, and it is accompanied by what appears to be its frontspiece, whereon is written "Published 30 April 1806 by I Gold [Joyce Gold] 103 Shoe Lane Fleet Street [London]".  It would therefore have appeared some 18 months after Captain George Duff died in action at the Battle of Trafalgar.   It is the most detailed biographical note identified by the present compiler and is apparently the source, not always acknowledged, of subsequent biographical notes on Captain George.
 

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BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR

OF THE LATE

CAPTAIN GEORGE DUFF,

WHO FELL IN THE ACTION OFF TRAFALGAR,
===============

   

 

                                                                ------------- MY SON, .AVENGE MY DEATH!
                                                                AND, 0N THAT OCEAN WHERE THY FATHER LIES,
                                                                PROVE THYSELF WORTHY OF TRAFALGAR'S DAY.

   
His family  

THIS Officer, born in 1764, was the son of the late James Duff, Esq. [James Duff 1729 - 1804, solicitor and sherriff clerk of Banff] of Banff, a younger brother of the family of Hatton, in the County of Aberdeen, and nearly related to the Earl of Fife. His mother was a daughter of Mr. Skene, of Rubislaw, in the same county, an amiable woman, of delicate health, who died six weeks after she had brought this son into the world.

   
Runs away to sea, joins navy:  early career,his comportment in the  hurricane off St Lucia in 1780  

Few persons, whose instinctive genius point to a particular profession, have ever shown a more early predilection than the subject of this memoir did, for the Navy. When only a boy, he in hours of play was always found, either among the shipping in the harbour of Banff[1], ahout half a mile from the town, or in boats on the Doveran, which skirts its lower streets, and runs into the sea, near to which was his father's house. As a boy he was sprightly, active, and enterprising; and so bent towards' the Navy, that seeing his father was averse from his going to sea, he endeavoured, whcn about nine years of age, to escape; by concealing himself on board a small merchant vessel, in which he actually sailed to a neighbouring port. The Master, upon finding him on hoard, sent him back to his father, who then became sensible that his son's inclination could not be counteracted, and wisely agreed to his going into the Royal Navy. He had been educated at home by a private tutor, who was now directed to turn the whole attention of his pupil towards studies most connected with his intended profession; and he was immediately rated in a ship of war, and two years afterwards was sent to join that experienced and dand distinguished officer, his grand-uncIe, Commodore (afterwards Admiral) Robert Duff[2], who commanded at Gibraltar, with his flag on board tbe Panther, of 60 guns, in September, 1777. It is to be regretted that we cannot trace this zealous and active youth throughout the first period of his interesting career. He was always remarkably modest and reserved in whatever regarded himself; but we have heard him mention, when asked, in how many battles he had fought? that he had been in thirteen engagements before he was sixteen years of age. This was during the American war, in the Mediterranean, and in the West Indies;  and we know, that in consequence of his gallant services, he was at that early age made a Lieutenant. He was at the taking of the Spanish Admiral Langara, and his squadron of five sail of the line, off Cadiz, in the beginning of 1780, and went from thence with Sir George Rodney's fleet to the West Indies.   Mr. Duff was probably at that time a Lieutenant in the Montalgu, of 74 guns, for in October, thatyear, he served in her when she was blown out of St. Lucia in the great hurricane, totally dismasted, thrown upon her beam ends, and in the greatest danger of being lost. Upon that occasion his manly exertions were said to have been very conspicuous, and by the falling of one of the masts he unfortunately got a contusion on his right leg, which was healed with great difficulty, and was oftcn troublesome to him during the rest of his life, particularly in tropical climates.

   
Service on The Montagu 1780 - 1782: Ville de Paris (mega ship) captured  

The Montagu having miraculously outlived the hurricane, was rigged with jury-masts, and got back with great difficulty to St. Lucia. She was there refitted, and Lieutenant Duff continued to serve in her, in the various encounters which our fleet had with the French till the glorious 12th of ApriI, 1782; when the Count de Grasse, their Commander in Chief, in the Ville de Paris, of 110 guns, the largest ship in the world, and four other ships of the line, were taken and brought to Jamaica by our victorious fleet.

   
Unknowing meeting with his  future wife's kinsman, Captain Dirom, who presents Duff to Governor of Jamaica Campbell and Commander in Chief Rodney  

Lieutenant Duff, some time after his arrival in the harhour of Port Royal, and as soon as his duty would permit, knowing that Captain Dirom was in that island, inquired for, and visited him at Spanish town: the Captain was at that time Adjutant General in Jamaica; and although he could have no idea, that in the course of ten years they should become so nearly connected, he had then a great regard for Lieutenant Duff whom he had known from childhood. After presenting his friend to Major General Archibald Campbell, the Governor, and enforcing the professional merit of the young hero; the General had the goodness to introduce him to Sir George Rodney, then on a visit at his country house, near Spanish town. Sir George received the nephew of his friend Admiral Duff in the most favourable manner, and upon knowing his service, put him on his list for promotion. This introduction to the Commander in Chief, which to an ardent and aspiring mind seemed so promising of success, did not avail Lieutenant Duff; as Sir George soon afterwards quitted his command and returned home: having upon a change of Ministry been unfortunately recalled, before the news of his splendid victory had reached England.

   
His role in relocation of Major General Archibald Campell's family: return to service in Jamaica  

Although disappointed, during the American war, in his well founded hopes of promotion, Lieutenant Duff persevered in his profession, and continued upon foreign service. The Camilla sloop of war, commanded by Captain Hutt, in which Mr. Duff was first Lieutenant, being ordered in June 1784 to take home General Campbell, his family and suite; the General was enabled, during the voyage, to observe how deserving our hero was of the notice which he had taken of him in Jamaica; and the kind attentions which the Lieutenant showed to the General's family, and in particular to his friend Captain Dirom, more than amply repayed the civilities which the former had met with from them on shore. The Camilla reached Portsmouth in six weeks, and soon afterwards returned to Jamaica, where Lieutenant Duff served in different ships. He was first Lieutenant of the Europa, of 50 guns, when Captain (now Rear-Admiral) Vashon was appointed to that ship; who found her crew in so excellent a state of discipline as gained Lieutenant Duff the esteem both of his Captain, and of Commodore (now Admiral Lord) Gardner, who at that time commanded upon the Jamaica station.

   
Adverse impact of salted provisions: return home to Scotland to recuperate recuperatery  

So long a period of service in the West Indies, during which Lieutenant Duff was often obliged to subsist chiefly on salted provisions, at length affected his health, and particularly the wound in his leg, which broke out, and had a very alarming appearance: insomuch, that in 1787 it became absolutely necessary for him to return to England. On his arrival there, be proceeded to Scotland by sea, to his father at Banff; where his native air, a change of diet, and the society of friends to whom he was warmly attached, soon effected the restoration of his health.

   
Recommended to Lord Dundas: appointed Captain of the Martin  

In 1790, Lieutenant Duff, then employed upon the home service, was recommended by the Duke and Duchess of Gordon in the handsomest and strongest manner, to the protection of the Right Hon. Henry Dundas, Minister for Scotland, the liberal patron of merit. Mr. Dundas, since created Viscount Melville, then filled the office of Treasurer of the Navy, and upon knowing the services of Lieutenant Duff was pleased to prefer his claims in such terms to the Board of Admiralty, that he was immediately appointed Captain and Commander of the Martin sloop of war, upon the coast of Scotland.

   
Marries Sophia Dirom and sets up home in Edinburgh  

Soon after his promotion, Captain Duff married Miss Sophia Dirom [Sophia Dirom 1764 - 1827] , second daughter of Alexander Dirom, Esq.[Alexander Dirom 1725 - 1788, solicitor and sometime sheriff and provost of Banff] of Muiresk, to whom he had been from childhood attached; and fixed the residence of his family at Edinburgh.

   
1793 Chatham persuades him to relinquish potentially lucrative command of a frigate in favour of ca call to captain The Duke; eventful action at Martinique  

Upon the breaking out of the last war, in the heginning of 1793, the same influence was again most kindly exerted for Captain Duff's further promotion; and he was one of the very few Masters and Commanders, who were appointed Post Captains by the Earl of Chatham; to whom he had the honour to have been personal1y known, when his Lordship, then a Captain in the army, went out to Gibraltar in the ship in which Mr.Duff served, during the former war. At his Lordship's desire, Captain Duff soon after relinquished the command of a frigate, then fitting out for him; in which at so early a period of the war he would probably have made his fortune, in order to go upon an expedition to the West Indies, as Captain of the Duke, of 90 guns, bearing the flag of the Hon. Commodore Murray.   This ship led the attack on the batteries at Martinico; and, at the close of the action, after silencing the battery to which she had been opposed, the powder magazine had but just been secured, when she was struck by lightning, her main-mast shivered to pieces, and her hull so damaged, that it was necessary to send her home to be repaired.

   
ca. 1794 - 1801, commands successively  Ambuscade,  Glenmore and  Vengeance  

The further attack upon Martinco having been deferred, the Commodore returned to England in the Duke. He expressed the highest esteem for Captain Duff; and reported his conduct to have been so meritorious, that he was immediately appointed to the command of the Ambuscade frigate, of 32 guns, and two years afterwards to the Glenmore, of 38 guns. In these ships he served in the North Seas, and upon the coast of Ireland, until 1801 ; when, upon a general promotion in the Navy, he was appointed to the Vengeance, of 74 guns, belonging to the Channel fleet.

   
Bantry Bay and Jamaica: protection and surveillance duties  

This ship, after having been detached to the Baltic to reinforce the fleet that attacked Copenhagen, became one of the   squadron under Rear-Admiral Campbell; which, after cruising for some time off Rochefort, was sent to Bantry Bay for the protection of that part of Ireland. Upon this station they continued until the signature of the preliminaries of peace; when, instead of returning to their homes, to which, after so long a war, the oficers and men anxiously looked forward, they were ordered to Jamaica, to watch the movements of the armament sent from France, to attempt the recovery of the French part of the island of St, Domingo from the usurped government of the Blacks.

   
Excellence of character; loyalty of his crew on the Vengeance  

Captain Duff had no opportunity in the course of the the last war, either of further signalizing himself, or of materially improving his fortune; but he was always active and vigilant, and though strict in discipline, had the happiness of being respected and beloved by the officers and men of every ship which was under his command. On the trials at Portsmouth, it came out in evidence, that when the ringleaders of the mutiny, which arose in the squadron in Bantry Bay, sounded the crew of the Vengeance, they found them so attached to their Captain, that they could not be moved. That ship, there is reason to believe, was the only one in which no mutinous spirit broke out; and upon the squadron coming to Portsmouth, previous to their sailing for the West Indies, her crew was indulged with leave to come on shore by turns, while all the others were confined to their ships. xt

   
Preparation for French invasion: recommencement of war  

Not more than eighteen months had elapsed, after Captain Duff had returned from the West Indies, to the bosom of his family and friends, when the present war broke out. He again solicited employment: and a general invasion of these united kingdoms being threatened by the French and their allies, he, in the mean time, without pay or emolument, assisted the General, and staff officers, in examining the coasts of the Frith [sic] of Forth, with which he was well acquainted, and in making arrangements for its defence. His steady patron, the Duke ofGordon, with his excellent son the Marquis of Huntley, seconded his application to be again called iuto active service; and General, the Earl of Moira, Commander of the forces in Scotland, by whom he had been appointed to the command of a division of the craft which had been voluntarily offered for the defence of the Frith of Forth, generously and unsolicited, wrote to Earl St. Vincent, then first Lord of the Admiralty, in Captain Duff's behalf.

   
Appointed to Captain The Mars: with Collingwood off Cadiz  

Upon the general promotion in the Navy which took place in April 1804, Captain Duff was appointed to the command of the Mars, of 74 guns, and immediately proceeded to join her off Ferrol. He cruised off that port, and successively off Rochefort and Brest, as one of the Channel Fleet, until in May last, he was detached to Cadiz, under Vice-Admiral Collingwood; whose small squadron of four ships of the line, afterwards increased to eight, continued to keep their station off that port, unawed by the arrival of the combined fleet.

   
September 1805: Nelson returns and strategically structures the fleet in anticipation of battlery  

Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson having, in the end of September, returned from England to resume the command upon that most important station, made a disposition of his increased force into two divisions, one of which was to be led by himself, and the other by Vice-Admiral Collingwood. Rear-Admiral Louis having been detached to the Mediterranean with seven sail of the line; Captain Duff had the honour, upon his departure, though there were senior Captains in the fleet, to be appointed to command the advance, or inshore squadron, of four sail of the line; by the recommendation, no doubt, of Vice-Admiral Collingwood, who selected the Mars as second to himself, in his division.

   
The Battle of Trafalgar launched  

The squadron commanded by Captain Duff was stationed midway between our frigates, which cruised close to the harbour of Cadiz, and our fleet, which kept out of sight of the port. From the time the enemy's fleet began to come out on the 19th, he was a1most constantly employed repeating signals from the frigates to the fleet: he followed, and kept sight of the enemy on the 2Oth, and continued making signals with colours by day, and blue lights at night, until the memorable morning of the 21st [of October]; when, it being certain tbat the enemy's fleet could not escape, the signal was made for his squadron to return, and take their places in the order of battle. The signal was then made for the Mars to lead the leee division of our fIeet, and to break the enemy's line. Captain Duff, knowing that his ship sailed ill, ordered every stitch of canvas to be instantly set; and in the meantime, while bearing down upon the enemy, went through his ship to see tbat every thing was in readiness for action. He spoke to his officers and men in every part of the ship; and, among other directions for their conduct, strictly enjoined them not to waste their fire, as he would take care to lay them close enough to the enemy. The Mars, notwithstanding every exertion, was passed by the Royal Sovereign, bearing the flag of Vice-Admiral Collingwood; then the Belleisle also shot ahead, and they were in action a few minutes before the Mars: each ship breaking through a different part of the enemy's line.

   
Progress of the battle: The Mars in the thick of it:  Captain Duff killed  

The wind, which had been light, then became more uncertain, and prevented the rest of the ships from closing immediately with the enemy; so that the few who were first engaged, were in a manner surrounded for some time to maintain a most severe conflict There was a French ship on each side of the Mars; and a Spanish ship, a first rate on her bow; and a fourth ship also within range of shot. The ship on her starboard quarter, the Fougeaux, was soon disabled, and it was thought she had struck, but her colours had only been shot away as she had never ceased to fire. The Captain of marines on the poop, seeing that the Fougueux in dropping to leeward, was getting into a position which would enable her to rake the Mars, and that she was preparing to do so came down to the quarter-deck to mention it to Captain Duff. The want of wind rendered it impossible to alter the position of the Mars, nor could it with safety be attempted, in regard to the enemy's other ships: Captain Duff therefore said to the Captain of marines, "Do you think our guns would bear on her?" He answered, "I think not, but I cannot see for smoke." - "Then," replied the Captain, "we must point our guns at the ships on which they can bear. I shall go and look; but the men below may see better, as there will be less smokc." - Captain Duff went to the end of the quarter-deck to look over the side; and then told his Aid-de-camp, Mr. Arbuthnot, to go below, and order the guns to be pointed more aft, meaning against the Fouglleux. He had scarcely turned round to go with these orders when the Fougueux raked the Mars. A cannon shot killcd Captain Duff, and two seamen who were immediately behind him: the ball struck the Captain on the breast, and carried off his head; his body fell on the gangway, where it was covered with a spare colour an union jack, until after the action.

   
Other high-profile fatalities  

The battle now raged in its utmost fury, and both fleets were enveloped in smoke. The carnage on both sides, particularly on that of the enemy, was immense: and about the same time that the gallant Duff fell in the Mars, being onc hour and five minutes after the commencement of the action, Captain Cooke, the companion of his youth, was killed in the Bellerophon and their Commander in Chief, the illustrious Lord Nelson, was mortally wounded on board the Victory.

   
Mars continues in action:  Fougeaux captured  

The Mars continued engaged during the whole of the action, frequently with fresh ships; but suffered from none so severely as she had done from the Fougeaux, which continued to drift to leeward, until she was engaged by others of our ships, and finally captured by the Temeraire.

   
Total Casulaties on The Mars  

On board the Mars, besides Captain Duff; there were killed in the action, Mr. Alexander Duff Master's Mate, acting Lieutenant, Messrs. Corbyn and Morgan; Midshipmen, and 25 seamen and marines. The wounded amounted to near 16 officers, 5 petty officers, and 60 seamen and marines: in all 98 killed and wounded. Among the latter was the gallant Captain of Marines, Norman, who afterwards died of his wounds.

   
On board distress at the death of Captain Duff  

When the batt1e had ceased; and it was generally known in the Mars that their gallant Captain was killed, there was scarcely a dry eye among the crew. Every oue felt that he had lost his friend and benefactor; and they all exclaimed, " We never shall again have such a Commander!"

   
Personal eulogy: his family  

Captain Duff was a man of fine stature, strong and well made, above six feet in height, and had a manly, open, benevolent countenance. During thirty years service he had not been four years unemployed, and that was about twenty months after his return from the West Indies in 1787; and not quite two years after the last war. Although he went early to sea, he lost no opportunity of improving himself in the theory, as well as in the practice of his profession; and acted the part of an instructor, and father, to the numerous young men who were under his command. By his beloved wife [Sophia Dirom 1764 - 1827] he had five children; of whom a boy [Norwich Duff 1792 - 1862] and two girls [Georgina Helen Duff 1803 - 1832 and Anna Margaret Duff 1805 - 1827] remain, together with their disconsolate mother, to mourn their father's death. His son, thirteen years of age, had joined him as a Midshipman [3] on the 19th of September last, and soon after his arrival on board the Mars, wrote exultingly to his mother, that his father's ship had been put in the post of honour next to Vice-Admiral Collingwood, in his division of the fleet. This spirited youth who has commenced his career in so interesting a manner, was, after the glorious victory of Trafalgar, removed by Admiral, now Lord Collingwood, with the kindest attention, from on board the Euryalus frigate; which soon afterwards was sent with dispatches to England. The Hon. Captain Blackwood, the distinguished officer who commands that ship, has undertaken in the handsomest manner to continue to take charge of the son of his respected friend the late Captain Duff; than whom he has been pleased to say, "His Majesty's service could not boast of a better, or more gallant officer." We can add with the greatest truth, that he was also a tender husband, an affectionate parent, a dutiful son, and a sincere friend!

 

   
Letter from 1st Lt Wm Hennah to Captain Duff's widow  


The first Lieutenant of the Mars, Mr. Hennah, who, after his gallant Captain fell, emulated his conduct in fighting the ship with admirable skill and intrepidity, took the first opportunity of leisure, after the battle, and the subsequent storm, to write the following letter to Mrs. Duff (Click on the next line to see the letter text.):

[Letter of Condolence from First Lieutenant William Hennah to Sophia, newly widowed wife of Captain George Duff.  The letter is headed "His Majesty's Ship Mars, off Cadiz, Oct. 27, 1805"]




   
Letter from Rear-Admiral the Earl of Northesk to Captain Duff's widow  

The same opportunity brought also the following letter to Mrs Duff, from Rear-Admiral the Earl of Northesk:-

Letter of Condolence from Rear-Admiral the Earl of Northesk to Sophia, newly widowed wife of Captain George Duff.   The letter is headed "Britannia off Cape Spartel, Nov. 6, 1805"]




   
Extract from letter sent by Captain Duff's former tutor  

Among the numerous letters of condolence addressed to Mrs. Duff and her family, on this melancholy occasion, by their relations and friends at home, the following extract is particularly interesting, being from the Rev. Mr. David Milne, Minister of the Gospel at Edinkillie, in the county of Moray; who was tutor to Captain Duff for several years before he went to sea.

Extract

   
Captain Duff's own correspondence home  

In order to illustrate the character which we have given of this most amiable man, and excellent officer, whose life may be offered as an inestimable pattern to society at large, as well as to his profession, we shall annex some extracts from his letters.  They are addressed to his brother-in-law and to his wife; but chiefly to the latter: who from motives of delicacy has with the greatest difficu1ty been prevailed upon to permit them to meet the public eye; and Mrs, Duff could only have been induced to do so, by the consideration that their contents will do further bonour to the memory of her beloved and lamented husband.

   
How most of Captain Duff's letters home were destroyed  

Captain Duff was in the practice of writing from day to day to his wife, and dispatching his letters as opportunities occurred. In this manner, his correspondence with her, had it been preserved, would have been very voluminous: but each time on his return home, he always asked for his letters, and destroyed them: thinking they were too bulky, and not of importance to be preserved. Thus it is only during his last absence, that we are enabled to give such extracts; with which two are included from the Captain's son to his mother; one just after he joined his father, and the other after his honorable death.

   
 

============

   
 

Extracts from the Letters of Captain Duff, of the Mars, to his family; from the time he left them in May 1804, to the time of his death, the 2Ist of October, 1805.

   
Greetings  

 

(No. I.) 

May 7th, 1804


To his Brother-in-law, Colonel Dirom, Deputy Quarter-Master-General in North Britain.

*     *     *      *     *

   
Family Matters mostly: Commander Cochrane.  

 

(No. II.)  

May 25th, 1804


Captain Duff to his Wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Suboptimal navigability of The Mars.  

 

(No. III.)   

June 5th 1804


To the same

*     *     *      *     *

   
Suboptimal navigability of The Mars: disordered disposition of locally stationed enemy ships.  

 

(No. IV.)   

June 5th 1804


To Colonel Dirom


*     *     *     *      *

   
Report of Spanish dissent. Suboptimal navigability of The Mars and crew shortage.  

 

(No. V.)   

June 10th & 13th 1804


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Condition of the French crews in Ferrol.  

 

(No. VI.)   

June 17th 1804


To the same


*     *     *     *      *

   
Provisions and conditions on board.  French movements.  

 

(No. VII.)   

July 4th & 10th 1804


To the same


*     *     *     *      *

   
The Emperor's birthday.  

 

(No. VIII.)   

July 15th 1804


To the same


*     *     *     *      *

   
Rumors of American advance on Mexico and of resulting  Spanish disgruntlement.  

 

(No. IX.)   

July 16th 1804


To the same


*     *     *     *      *

   
Congratulations on promotion.  

 

(No. X.)   

August 15th 1804


To Brigadier-General Dirom


*     *     *     *      *

   
Improvements to The Mars.  

 

(No. XI.)   

September 7th 1804


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Storm report.  

 

(No. XII.)   

October 23rd 1804


To the same


*     *     *     *      *

   
To join the fleet at Torbay.  

 

(No. XIII.)   

October 9th, 1804


To Brigadier-General Dirom

*     *     *     *      *

   
James Duff 1729 - 1804  


 

(No. XIV.)   

October 28th 1804


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Dinner with The Admiral  

 

(No. XV.)   

October 30th - November 2nd 1804


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Weather. Shipboard entertainment  

 

(No. XVI.)   

November 8th - 17th 1804


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Visiting the Admiral. Calm weather permits fishing  

 

(No. XVII.)   

November 23rd 1804


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Napoleon's Rochefort Fleet slips out. Captain Jervis drowns.  

 

(No. XVIII.)   

January 24th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Speculation on whereabouts of those ships that slipped out of Rochefort.  

 

(No. XIX.)   

February 11th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Ready for action, once the French come out and fight.  

 

(No. XX.)   

March 27th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Meeting with Collingwood: thoughts of his own (not yet seen by him) daughter Ann. Bellerophon spotted: might mean a mail delivery  

 

(No. XXI.)   

May 6th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Reunion with his friend, Capt Cooke of the Bellerophon. Cask of evidently sound wine scooped from the sea.  

 

(No. XXII.)   

May 10th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Stand-off with the combined fleet. Domestric on board chat.  

 

(No. XXIII.)   

May 24th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

 

   
Nearly caught the Gloriosa. Turtle dinner with The Admiral  

 

(No. XXIV.)   

June 14th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
General Moreau  

 

(No. XXV.)   

July 6th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Provisioning during temporary enforced diversion to Tangiers  

 

(No. XXVI.)   

August 22nd 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Fleet build up continues. Mars to stay close by Collingwood  

 

(No. XXVII.)   

August 26th - 31st 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Chat. Growing flleet size may mean more frequent 'mail services' home  

 

(No. XXVIII.)   

September 1st - 9th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Arrival of Captain Duff's son, Norwich Duff  

 

(No. XXIX.)   

September 23rd 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Thanks his wife for 'the picture'. Dinner with Nelson  

 

(No. XXX.)   

September 28th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Rumors of disparate counsels involving Buonaparte  as to whether or not the Combined Fleet should put to sea  

 

(No. XXXI.)   

October 1st 1805


To Brigadier-General Dirom


*     *     *     *      *

   
He prefers the Mars to the Aurora (on which he formerly travelled) and he has not been sea sick  

 

(No. XXXII.)   

October 1st 1805


From Norwich Duff (son to Captain George Duff) to his mother


*     *     *     *      *

   
Keeping in touch  

 

(No. XXXIII.)   

October 7th 1805


From Captain George Duff to his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Thoughts about Nelson. Concern that imminent rain with spoil the ship's paintwork which has just been redone 'a la Nelson'.  

 

(No. XXXIV.)   

October 8th - 10th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Numerous matters including Captain George's own prospects of promotion  

 

(No. XXXXV.)   

October 17th - 18th 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Captain George Duff's final letter to his wife, written on the morning of the Battle of Trafalgar Captain Duff having the command of the advance or inshore squadron, and the enemy's fleet having begun to come out on the 19th, his time appears to have been so completely occupied, that he did not continue his letter to his wife, as usual, on the 19th and 20th. - The following few lines, written on a separate half sheet of paper, and sealed with a wafer, were however found along with his other unfinished letters, in his writing box.

 

(No. XXXVI.)   

October 21st 1805


To his wife


*     *     *     *      *

   
Captain Duff's son, and three other boys who went out with him, were stationed on the lower deck during the action, where, their schoolmaster writes, they behaved like young Nelsons.      
Norwich Duff's report of his father's death  

 

(No. XXXVII.)   

October 21st 1805


From Captain Duff's son, Norwich, to his newly widowed mother


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Copyright  2003 Sir William Arbuthnot and  Charles Hillman. All Rights Reserved.

Updated at  12:17 on 14 April 2007